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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  May 28, 2019 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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you allow them to be. elections do have consequences. remember your power, people. remember it. remember to use it. this will be my clarion call to you during this election. it's all about you. you get what you want in a democracy. that's why mitch mcconnell is able to play the game, because he is kept a player in it. thank you for watching. "cnn tonight" with the one and only d. lemon starts now. >> only what you're allowing them to be. you're so right, but you know what, the folks who are sitting at home and just allowing it to happen, who say it's okay and people have trump derangement syndrome if they actually call out things that the president does or things in the congress, people in the congress do or in the senate, you're going to get your comeuppance when there is a democratic administration, a
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democratic senate and a democratic congress. it will happen. it will happen in probably most of our lifetime. and you will complain about the rule of law. democrats will see what's happening now as a precedent that's already set and they, too, will think that they can run roughshod over the rule of law, and so then what do you have? what recourse do you have? they're going to say donald trump did it. you let him do it, the senate let him do it. when you had a republican congress, you let him do it. the folks in the white house let him do it so we're going to let our guy do it. and you're going to sit at home and you're going to be pissed and you're going to yell and you're going to drink and you're going to eat too much and you're going to drown your sorrows and then there is nothing and then our country's going to be just as you know what up as it is now. so, listen, you better get it right now. you better start calling the folks out because your turn is coming. >> enough about you, don. >> no, no, i know what you're
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saying. this isn't about me. this is not about me. >> that is exactly you. >> i sit there and watch it all the time because look what happened with the nuclear option. >> that's exactly right. harry reid. >> it came back to bite democrats in the butt. >> we'll save the biggest disappointment, and mitch mcconnell said don't do this, you're going to regret it. again, the game exists but it is not controlled by the people who play it. i think people misperceive that. but when people talk about trump derangement syndrome, i understand those who accuse people of it. what they're saying, at least in my life, is, don't you see what i hate? don't you see what they do to people like me? and he says he's going to fight against it. you have to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water. you've got to be important with
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that. mitch mcconnell, i know people are outraged by what he said. hey, that's what you allow the game to be. >> well, that's what happens. as you said, elections have consequences. >> don't hate the player, hate the game. >> but i actually think trump derangement syndrome is on the other side. >> you've got rationalization. how many people in your life do you have that are real conservatives? >> they can't stand what's happening. i have people that are like real conservatives, real catholics. he represents things that they hate. but they're owning him right now why? because of the alternative. that's what they say all the time, yeah, but it's better than. it's moral relativism for people who are supposed to be better than that. i hope it happens and we'll swing at them like a pinata. you got to police both sides. >> i wish it didn't have to happen. but i'm going to sit here and say, well, you let it happen. >> if this president doesn't win, or if after his administration, you have a democrat in there who will say, i'll tell you what i'm declaring in an emergency. gun violence. >> gun violence.
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health care. >> that's not what the statute is meant for. you got to attack it. >> women's rights. that's going to be a national emergency. >> they're all emergency situations but they don't fit under that law. >> thank you, chris. >> can't wait to see the rest of your show. >> you got to stay tuned for the part about the pulitzer and aretha franklin. it was a real, real treat. we were all shocked today when this person came out. and did her thing. >> i will watch. come for the suit, stay for the show. >> see you, sir. i'll talk to you later. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. we have a lot to talk about. the kind of people the president sides with, the kind of people he thinks are his enemies. because what he is doing is absolutely outrageous, okay? there are no two ways about it. not even going to try to pretend otherwise. it's absolutely outrageous and i'll give you some evidence to back it up. we have to talk about this president siding with a murderous dictator. not for the first time. and this one is over a former vice president who served this country honorably.
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apparently this president is terrified, terrified of running against joe biden. why else would he, in the middle of a state visit to japan, when any other president would be trying to defend america's interests, why would he echo north korea's attack on joe biden with his own tweet calling him low i.q.? why would he do that? making matters worse tonight by saying he was being nice to biden by calling him a low i.q. individual instead of a low i.q. idiot. biden himself would say, come on, man. he has too much class to say anything else. there is literally no possibility that anybody could miss the insult in all of this. a gleeful and childish insult against the candidate he seems to fear the most, even though his own aides have, according to "the new york times," pleaded with the president to ignore the
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former vice president. biden's campaign calls trump's comments beneath the dignity of the office. and they're right. but there is so much more. and i repeat. so much more. and all of this happened while the president was on a state visit to japan, while he was downplaying the fact that north korea has test fired short-range ballistic missiles, missiles that a u.s. government reports notes pyongyang is trying to fit with nuclear warheads, violating u.n. security council resolutions. and all of that apparently just fine with the president as long as kim jong-un is on his side. >> you tweeted about north korea yesterday. do you believe that they violated u.n. resolutions with the short-range missile launch, and does it give you pause at all to be appearing to side with a brutal dictator instead of a fellow american, the former vice president joe biden?
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>> kim jong-un made a statement that joe biden is a low i.q. individual. he probably is based on his record. i think i agree with him on that. but at the same time, my people think it could have been a violation, as you know. i view it differently. >> he sure does view it differently. go right ahead, kim jong-un. launch all the missiles you want as long as you keep slamming my opponent. the enemy of my enemy is my friend. let's remember exactly how murderous, murderous kim jong-un is, just in case you forgot or are condoning this kind of behavior, okay? kim jong-un starved his own people. he executed his own family members. and let's remember that he is responsible for the brutal death of american student otto
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warmbier even though this president was perfectly willing to take the dictator's word on that one, too, his word that he had no idea what happened to the 22-year-old american who was in prison in north korea for 17 months. >> he felt badly about it. i did speak to him. he felt very badly. he knew the case very well, but he knew it later. you know, you got a lot of people. it's a big country. a lot of people. and in those prisons and those camps, you have a lot of people, and some really bad things happened to otto, some real really bad things. but he tells me that he didn't know about it and i will take him at his word. >> terrible. this president is awfully willing to take the word of a strong man over his own people. let's not forget helsinki.
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july 2018. when president trump stood next to vladimir putin and said he didn't see any reason russia would interfere in our election, taking the russian president's word over his own intelligence chiefs'. >> my people came to me, dan coats came to me and some others and say they think it's russia. i have president putin. he just said it's not russia. i'll say this, i don't see any reason why it would be. >> let's remember the crown prince of saudi arabia now. the man behind the vicious murder of "washington post" journalist jamal khashoggi. in the saudi consulate in istanbul. our own cia has assessed that with confidence, but our president refused to accept that and sided with the saudis again and again. >> i spoke with the crown prince
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yesterday, and he strongly said that he had nothing to do with this. he's got many people now who say he had no knowledge. he told me that he had nothing to do with it. saudi arabia, if we broke with them, i think your oil prices would go through the roof. we have a very strong ally in saudi arabia. we have an ally that said they did not commit, at the top level, the crown prince, the king, they did not commit this atrocity. >> yes, those are the president's friends. his perceived enemies? well, they include the former vice president of the united states, the former director of the fbi, james comey. the man he fired because he was doing his job investigating whether russia was attacking our democracy during the 2016 election. in a "washington post" op-ed
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tonight, comey defends the fbi against president trump's baseless claim that the bureau spied on his campaign. and here's the quote from "the washington post." it says, "the president is a liar who doesn't care what damage he does to vital institutions. we must call out his lies, that the fbi was corrupt and committed treason, that we spied on the trump campaign and tried to defeat donald trump. we must constantly return to the stubborn facts. there was no corruption. there was no treason. there was no attempted coup. those are lies and dumb lies at that. those were just good people trying to figure out what was true under unprecedented circumstances." yes, those are very strong words, but let's face it, for this president nothing matters more than winning.
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and the conventional wisdom is, if americans are satisfied with the economy, happy with their paychecks, the president will win re-election. is that you? could that be you? this president siding with brutal dictators but happy with the economy, you're happy with your paycheck, so it doesn't matter what he does? you know what they say. it's the economy, stupid. that can be read in a number of different ways. it's the economy, stupid. know what i mean? but what if the conventional wisdom is wrong? what if in the contest between money and morals, money doesn't talk. we are starting to see evidence that a lot of voters are driven
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more by their views about race and gender than their pocketbooks, thank goodness. we're going to talk more about that in a moment. but what if that does hold true at the ballot box this time? then what? this president seems to be obsessed with attacking joe biden. but is all of this actually helping biden's campaign? that's a question for mr. frank bruni, ms. dana bash and ms. kirsten powers. next. ...on a john deere 1 series tractor.. because changing your attachments... whether it's for this job...
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total cash allowance on this traverse. find new roads at your local chevy dealer. with all the democrats running for president, it looks like joe biden is the one president trump fears the most. at least that's what it looks like with all the insults he's hurling at the vice president. let's bring in frank bruni, dana bash, kirsten powers, good evening one and all. so glad to have you on. dana, i'm going to start with you. president trump is siding with a murderous dictator against the former vice president of the united states. biden is saying it's beneath the dignity of the office to respond. what should americans make of this feud? >> well, let's just state -- never mind whether or not it's appropriate, obviously it's flatly inappropriate for any president to be siding with a murderer's dictator over any american. just on the raw politics of
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trump versus biden, don, my reporting is that -- this is not going to shock you -- this is not some grand trump campaign strategy. >> right. >> this is the president going with his gut. that he's worried about joe biden. that he thinks joe biden is probably inevitable as his opponent, and so he might as well start taking him down a notch now. but if you think about, again, if you look at if it really was a strategy, he would be trying to elevate, because that's what he's doing with joe biden, elevate people who he might find as, you know, democratic opponents easier to beat. that's not the case here. and this is not something that is necessarily a plus. people who i'm talking to in the trump political world, they don't think it's a plus at all. they think it's mostly a negative, what he's doing. >> so even though the president,
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frank, is continuing to poke at joe biden, trump sent at least a dozen tweets on bind. obsessing here? >> he does seem a little obsessed with him. the odd thing is he's doing him a great favor. right? joe biden has not been out on the campaign trail much. in fact, there is a whole separate narrative and concern about how sleepy, to use the president's word, how joe biden has been. because donald trump is tweeting about him, is doing these things that make trump himself -- he's giving joe biden headlines, he's making joe biden a big story, he's making joe biden look big by being so small and joe biden doesn't have to lift a finger. he just has to occasionally release a statement kind of indicating the sort of disapproval of what trump is doing that most americans instinctively feel. i mean, dana is absolutely right. this is no strategy. this is a very small-minded president who gets obsessed with people, let's things get under his skin, who let's his fear
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show. and he's telling the world, i fear biden the most. if you're a democratic voter, you'll look at that and say, oh, maybe i should side with joe biden. so he's not doing himself any favors. he's not accomplishing anything here. >> kirsten, let's just imagine, if you will, that you're simone sanders or whatever -- i'm joking. you're kirsten powers and you're on team biden. you got to be loving the attention from this president, right? do you think it only helps biden? >> oh, definitely for the reasons that frank just outlined, but also because it gives biden the opportunity to do the contrast that he wants to do. this is exactly how he wants to be contrasted with donald trump. he wants to be the person who is the statesman, the person who is bringing a sense of morality and decency back to the presidency. so it gives him an opportunity to kind of rise above it in the way that he also waited to criticize the president until he was back on american soil going back to this what now seems like a very old fashioned way of
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doing politics where you aren't criticizing your opponents, or at least attacking your opponents on foreign soil. so i think it gave him a good opportunity to contrast himself with donald trump. >> so i guess if you're biden, kirsten, do you want to do anything, or do you just let this ride for awhile until you really have to get out there on the campaign trail? >> well, i think it would be better for him to be out there a little more than he is, but it's still very, very early, and i don't think that -- i suppose if you're on his campaign, you might be thinking the less he's out there, the less likely he's going to make a gaffe or say something problematic -- >> can i jump in here right now? >> yeah. >> i hear that whole gaffe thing, right, and i know what everybody means by that, but aren't we in a gaffe -- not even free. a gaffe-free zone considering the person we have in office right now? you can pretty much say whatever you want right now.
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why are people like, oh, joe biden's going to make a gaffe? have what heard what comes out of donald trump's -- have you seen what comes from donald trump's fingers? >> i think democrats hold their candidates to a different standard. >> i totally agree. >> i don't think they're willing to overlook the kinds of things that republican voters are willing to overlook. that said, i think we have shifted into a different kind of era and biden will get away with a lot more than he used to because democrats are being so mercenary, frankly, about who they want to choose. so the biggest thing biden has to do is prove he can beat donald trump, and there is going to be a lot of grace for gaffes and other things if they really think he's the guy that can beat him. >> do you think that they learn, dana, about al franken if they look at after al franken? you look at the president in office now, you look at folks who were accused of similar things and they're still there.
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>> i think this is a different situation. this is a much more global kind of meta question. this is about donald trump. this is about, as kirsten just laid out, beating donald trump, and who is the best person to do that? and poll after poll at this point of democratic primary and caucus voters say that they -- that is the number one standard by which they are going to choose who their nominee is. >> listen, frank, i've got to ask you, we talked about this, too, and talk about hypocrisy. this is mitch mcconnell when he infuriated democrats, right, about the whole supreme court thing. he said he would pick a supreme court vacancy if there was one. i want you to watch this. >> should a supreme court justice die next year, what would your position be on filling that spot? >> we would fill it.
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>> he blocked merrick garland in 2016. >> he'd be doing the exact opposite in this case. >> let's listen to what he said in 2016, mcconnell, and then we can talk about it. >> the next justice could fundamentally alter the direction of the supreme court and have a profound impact on our country. so, of course, of course, the american people should have a say in the court's direction. it is the president's constitutional right to nominate a supreme court justice, and it is the senate's constitutional right to act as a check on a president and withhold its consent. >> he believed that when it was advantageous to republicans, and he won't believe it when that's advantageous. this is rank partisanship of the most bald kind. >> it doesn't even matter, the sound bite is there. he said it, but they just say different stuff.
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go on, dana, sorry. >> yeah, it doesn't matter anymore, but particularly on this issue, particularly with mitch mcconnell. i've covered him for many, many years. he is so singularly focused on the bench, on the federal judiciary. obviously the supreme court is the creme de la creme. but he's been working with the now, you know, you don't say his name anymore. he worked with don mcgahn. for the first two years very, very aggressively to fill that federal bench. he's so focused on that, and he doesn't have -- he is running for re-election in kentucky where the president is incredibly popular. more popular probably than when he won in 2016, so he doesn't have any political problem at home. in fact, just the opposite. they don't care about the hypocrisy, they're applauding the notion of potentially putting a conservative in if he has the opportunity no matter how contradictory or hypocritical it is to what he did before, and that is classic, classic mcconnell.
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his eye is on the ball there. >> thank you, dana, thank you, kirsten, thank you, frank. appreciate it. lone gop primary challenger to the president is stepping up his attacks on trump. he says the president would prefer what he calls an aryan nation. i'm going to talk to bill weld, former governor of massachusetts about that. more, next. hey! it's me! your dry skin! i'm craving something we're missing. the ceramides in cerave. they help restore my natural barrier, so i can lock in moisture. we've got to have each other's backs... cerave. now the #1 dermatologist recommended skincare brand. (vo) be the first to stream 4k beautifully for the first time ever. be first to real time with verizon 5g ultra wideband. get the new samsung galaxy s10 5g. on verizon. webut some of us turn outhose dreams...... into action...
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have the fastest internet and now the best mobile network too? yeah and get them together and save hundreds on your wireless bill. wow, that's great. oh, and this looks great. are these words for sale? no. go, go, go, go, go. now the fastest, most reliable internet can help you save on your wireless bill. that's simple, easy, awesome. taxi! should i have stopped her? save hundreds of dollars a year when you get internet and mobile together. plus ask how to get $250 back when you switch to xfinity mobile. bill weld is the lone republican taking on president trump in the 2020 primary, and he's telling an audience that the president would prefer an aryan nation. it's not clear if he was referring to the neo-nazi group,
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but he later told abc news that trump would, "prefer a nation with no immigrants." bill weld joins me now so answer that question and many more. thank you, governor. i appreciate you joicning us. >> thank you, don. a pleasure being with you. >> absolutely. you said trump would prefer an aryan nation. what did you mean by that? >> a nation with no immigrants whatsoever. it's been clear since he started his campaign, he was basing it on stirring up vitreal and hatred of immigrants. it started with muslims and the wall and the mexican border. his campaign in 2016, in my opinion, was a series of dog whistles, and that dog whistle about the wall, trump voters or workers who have economic insecurity, you should be with me on the wall and hating immigrants, because if you don't, some brown person may
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come across that border with mexico and take your job. i think that was the intended echo of his immigration policy. >> well, people often say -- >> cynical, but that's it. >> so when you say things like what you say, and people who call the president's actions and words racist, they'll say, well, where is the evidence? what's the evidence that the president only wants -- the evidence is right in front of your face, no? >> the evidence is everything he says. are you kidding me? >> listen, so you decided to challenge this president for the republican nomination out of a fear -- this is a quote -- fear for the republic if he wins reelection. are other republicans thinking the same thing and just not willing to say it out loud? >> oh, yeah. no, that's the case. i know a lot of the senior republican senators, and some of them will say to you off the record, you know, there is nothing to be done now. we can't rock the boat right now, we'll get massacred, so we just can't do it.
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but we're with you, kid, stick with it all the way. we admire what you're doing. i hear quite a bit of that. >> doesn't that kind of tick you off, because you're the one sticking your neck out there, you're the one being bold and challenging this president, and challenging, you know, people who are defying the rule of law and setting up alternative facts and alternative realities. that doesn't tick you off that they say, you go out there, kid, and do it, but we're not going to say anything, we're just going to be comfortable? >> i invited others to come in. if other republicans got in, it might seem more like a real primary and people might take a longer look. but until then, i'm very happy to go about my business which is, frankly, trying to persuade people that the president is not doing his job, that, you know, we have to cut spending as well as cutting taxes, which i did. that we have to plan ahead for all the 15% of the jobs in the united states that are going to be lost in the next 10 or 15
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years because of advances in technology like robotics and artificial intelligence and self-driving vehicles. no one is worrying about that in washington, d.c., and they should be, and i've developed a plan for that. it's my job to persuade people that climate change is not a hoax and that's not a very difficult job, frankly, when people look at the polar ice cap melting which is going to completely rearrange all of our shorelines. so, you know, i've spent a lot of time arguing in court, and i enjoy the process of trying to persuade people of things. i think i have an easy job over the intermediate haul, i honestly do. and that election is almost 18 months away. >> a lot of republicans consider themselves never trumpers, but now you're the only republican willing to challenge this president in the primary. and representative justin amash is the only republican pushing for his impeachment.
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i ask a similar question, but where are those other republicans now? >> well, i think a lot of people agree with me and congressman amash whose statement i totally applaud, that the president committed obstruction of justice. if you read the mueller report, and bob mueller was my deputy in the justice department. i know him well, he's the straightest guy i ever met, and he has eight or ten examples of the president committing obstruction of justice in volume ii of his report by trying to shut down the investigation, get mueller fired, get his top national security people to lie, get his top intelligence officials to lie up to and including dan coats. trying to get don mcgahn to lie, who is the president's chief lawyer. and they've all said to him, mr. president, i can't do that because that's not true. he essentially came back at him saying, what's your point? this guy is a stranger to the
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truth. i won't even say a loose man with the truth. a broken clock is right about twice a day, and so is the president. he doesn't know when the curtain is down and when the curtain is up and when he's on stage and when he's not because he's so obsessed with himself and has such a need for people to praise him. i don't know what it is, but i wouldn't want his demons. >> listen, governor, we appreciate your candor. we love having people come on and tell their truth and aren't afraid to fight the powers that be, so we thank you and we invite you back any time. thank you so much. >> great, don. many thanks. the former fbi director james comey is slamming the president's comments, accusing fbi investigators of committing treason, calling them lies and dumb lies at that. democratic candidate eric swalwell joins me next. welcome to fowler, indiana. one of the windiest places in america. and home to three bp wind farms.
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former fbi director james comey calling out the president tonight for attacking the fbi and its investigations into trump's 2016 campaign. comey calls the president's accusations of treason and a coup simply, quote, dumb lies in a "washington post" op-ed. but attorney general bill barr is now investigating the beginning of the russia investigation. democratic congressman eric swalwell of california joins me now. he sits on the intelligency judicia -- intelligence and judiciary committees. he's also a 2020 presidential candidate. good to have you, sir. >> thanks for having me back. >> let's talk about the quote from comey. here's what he writes, in part. go ahead and investigate the investigators, if you must. when those investigations are over, they will find the work was done appropriately and focused only on discerning the truth of very serious allegations.
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there was no corruption, there was no treason, there was no attempted coup. those are lies and dumb lies at that. is this investigation into the investigators, does it bring more transparency, and if it does, is that a good thing? >> no, it makes us less safe, don, because if you're an fbi agent right now and you've been passed a tip about a potential threat to our democracy, with this president threatening investigations against the fbi, do you think that agent is going to go out and investigate? no. and when you see the president's lawyer rudy giuliani meeting with the unique with the ukrainians to get dirt on potential opponents, you're just going to let that go because you don't want this president to shine that light on you. here's what we can do, though. i think the judiciary committee should move on attorney general barr and impeach the attorney general. he's a front door obstructor. he's not being paid by donald trump, he's being paid by us. he's the taxpayers' attorney, and the first thing we should do is set the example that a lawless attorney general will be held accountable. second, i have legislation that will address what director comey has put out.
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it's called duty to report. crazy idea that if you're on a campaign and a russian approaches you with dirt on your opponent, you have to tell the fbi. all of this could have been avoided if these jokers told the fbi rather than make the fbi do all this work. >> wouldn't folks know that, anyone who is running a campaign would know if someone from a hostile enemy or hostile nation says they have dirt on an opponent, that you should turn them over to law enforcement or you shouldn't meet with them? that's common sense. >> yes, of course they would know it, but there would at least be a crime for not doing it. >> got it. >> and part of the problem was that prior congresses never imagined that people would so betray their country the way the trump team did, but now we should have ways to hold them accountable. >> i want to get this in while i have you here. this is your republican colleague justin amash. hear what he said earlier
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tonight. >> robert mueller very clearly identifies and analyzes a number of instances, several instances, of obstruction of justice. he really left it to congress to come to a determination on these issues. it's really important that we do our job as a congress, that we not allow misconduct to go undeterred, that we not just say someone can buy the public trust and that there are no consequences to it. >> he seems to be making a case for impeachment stronger than many of your democratic colleagues. does he have a point, though, by holding off impeachment? are democrats allowing the president to get away with obstructing justice? >> that's the fear. not only does he get away with it, but future presidents see the bar being lowered. i admire justin amash greatly, but, don, here's the question, why is he alone?
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why aren't there other republicans saying this is lawless, it doesn't matter what party you're in. and people say, oh, it's because you're putting party over country. i used to think that, too. that's not the case. they're putting their job over their country. they're afraid if they speak out, they're going to get primaried, but that's crazy because you would think people in congress could get other jobs and they'd be otherwise employable, but that's the mindset i see. that's wrong but they're thinking about their own damn jobs. >> what are you hearing on the trail tonight? >> what am i hearing what? >> out on the trail tonight. >> oh, thanks for asking. i'm in houston on a gun violence tour of the country. not just the schools and the churches that have been -- have had gun violence, but i've been in chicago and baltimore and philadelphia and indianapolis and now in houston. i'm hearing all this talk about the crime bill in '94, people want to talk about the crime that's happening now because we failed to address gun violence in our communities, we failed to invest in people. they don't want a crime bill,
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they want a hope bill, and make sure that you have jobs and education and health care in these communities and give people hope. i had a gun violence roundtable today. i'm going to do the same thing tomorrow in houston and we're going to roll out some initiatives on what we can do. >> congressman swalwell, always a pleasure. thank you, sir. >> my pleasure. thanks, don. we'll be right back. patients that i see that complain about dry mouth,
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so far this year, 11 people have died while climbing mt. everest at just over 29,000 feet, it is the highest peak on earth. experienced climbers blame the death toll on dangerous conditions and overcrowding near the top of the mountain. so let's discuss now. joining me now by skype from nepal is woody hartman, who reached the summit just last week.
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woody, i'm so glad you joined us. as i said, you summited the mountain on may 23rd at the very time these tragedies were happening, and you say it was horrific. can you please describe to our audience, to everyone, your experience. what happened? >> yeah. i, like many fellow climbers, left at about 7:30 p.m. from camp 4, which is at 26,000 feet on the edge of the death zone at 7:30 p.m. on may 22nd, really trying to squeeze my summit bid into a very small weather window this year. it looked like the winds and other weather conditions were going to be satisfactory up there at the top of the world. however, almost immediately after leaving camp, i encountered what has now become so famous, which is a huge queue of other climbers that were trying to jam into the same very small weather window as me. so within an hour or so, i found myself kind of stuck in -- we
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joked and called it a congo line, but of course it was a lot darker than that. it was dead silent. it was snowing, freezing cold. it's pitch dark, and all you can see is sort of ten feet ahead and behind you with your headlamp. we were kind of stuck on one safety line trying to get up to the top of the mountain, and along the way seeing some really tragic things. >> wow. >> i passed -- i passed probably three frozen dead bodies presumably from just the last day or two before, two of which were still attached to the same safety line as me. and as i was climbing up, i soon came to realize that part of the traffic jam was being caused by other climbers who had collapsed or were unconscious and were actually being dragged back down the mountain, often by their sherpa. >> as you're seeing this, i mean as you said, you saw probably three dead bodies, frozen, still attached to this safety line,
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and other people who had lost consciousness. what were you thinking? were you thinking why the hell am i doing this, or what was going through your head? maybe you could end up like them? >> absolutely. i think there's a -- it instills a survival mode instinct in everyone. i think everyone felt terrified. you go into especially that last day knowing it's dangerous, knowing you could die. but to actually see death all around you, to see other people collapsing right around you, in some cases wearing very similar outfits to what you have on, it's shocking and jarring, and i think takes a lot of fortitude for anyone to, you know, put their head down and continue towards this goal that starts to really be in question. >> did you ever think of turning around? is that even possible? >> i considered it, but i felt very fortunate to feel strong. i was warm enough.
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i was well fueled. i had enough energy, and so there was no time at which i really felt that i personally had to turn around. >> mm-hmm. >> there were many times in which i offered, especially for the people being pulled down, if there was anything i could do to help because i was happy to pause and wait for 30 minutes or an hour, give them water or food or something if that could have been helpful. but most of them just needed to get down as fast as possible. >> i want to put the picture up of the one that went viral. it looks like rush hour up there. you know, people think of mt. everest as the insurmountable obstacle. do you think there are just too many people trying to make the climb? >> i think there are too many people on a handful of days trying to make the climb, absolutely. i don't know the exact number from this year, but my guess, the numbers i've heard is that about 600 or maybe a little bit more people summited mt. everest. now, that's probably roughly the
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amount for the entire year, and that's -- so that's not that many if you distribute it like a normal year. but what was so tragic this year was that there were only, it looked like, maybe two or three good days of weather to get all of those people to the summit, and that created those super unsafe conditions. the fact that there's no one -- no formal coordination between the guiding companies to actually see who is sending people up when to make sure you don't end up with this convergence of everyone trying to get there at the same time, that feels like a recipe for disaster that could happen again and really should be fixed in the future. >> listen, i'm sure they'll be looking into, you know, exactly what happened and maybe the nepalese government will limit climbs or what have you. but for you as a climber, i'm sure you were concerned -- i asked you if you thought you could end up like those folks. so you said that this incredible instinct to survive kicked in. but did you ever think, like, i
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might not make it? and right now how are you doing? how is your health? >> i -- before i left on this trip, i contemplated the possibility of my death and was prepared for it as crazy as that sounds. i made my first will. i wrote a letter that i left on my desk at home to all my loved ones in case something should happen. so i think every everest climber has some amount of mental preparation. but, you know, when you actually face death in the moment, it's completely different. and, yes, i was changed by that evening. i'm already going through a lot of emotions, and i'm sure i will continue to process it for months. i hope to take away from it something positive, which is a sense that all of our time on this earth is limited and i'm going to make the most of it, which might mean climbing more mountains too. >> more power to you. i just don't have it in me for it. i'm glad you're okay.
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thank you, woody hartman. we appreciate your time. >> thanks so much for having me. >> we'll be right back. me! your! i'm craving something we're missing. the ceramides in cerave. they help restore my natural barrier, so i can lock in moisture. we've got to have each other's backs... cerave. now the #1 dermatologist recommended skincare brand. yeahhh! there we go! this memorial day, start your summer off right in a new chevrolet. oh, wow!! it's time to upgrade. you guys out did yourselves there. i'm gonna go and get a chevy. an exciting summer begins at your chevy dealer. and now, during the chevy memorial day sales event, get 0% financing for 72 months on these select chevy models.
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to save 30% on all the medications we carry. so go directly to petmeds.com now. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. thank you so much for joining us. congress is in recess this week but the calls to begin impeachment proceedings against president trump, those calls are growing louder and

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